Pre-Reading Strategies: Make a Flannel Board to Enhance Story Time for Your Preschoolers
A favorite in any preschool classroom is the flannel story board. This visual aid enchants children while encouraging literacy and imagination. Flannel boards are wonderful pre-reading tools and strategies, reinforcing the concepts of story sequencing, story characters, setting, and story themes.
How to Make a Wallhanging Flannel Board
The easiest way to set up a story board is to hang a large piece of flannel or felt on the wall with thumbtacks. Choose a light color material, such as light blue or ecru. Light colors look bigger and nicer than dark backgrounds. Choose a solid color, not a pattern. Even faint patterns detract from the story pieces.
Make sure to choose a fabric that pieces of felt will stick to. Some teachers attach Velcro to the back of their storyboard pieces to help them stick. Test fabric before purchasing.
When choosing this method, a simple border stapled around the edges gives a finished look.
How to Make Flannel Board Using Boards and Easels
Start with a flat piece of sanded wood. For those who do not sew, it is easy to either glue or staple (with a staple gun) the fabric to the wood.
Choose a piece of fabric that is at least 2 inches longer and wider than the board. (So, if your board is two feet by three feet, the fabric must be at least 26 inches by 38 inches.) Larger fabric is fine.
Spread the fabric neatly, face down on the floor. Lay the board in the center. Fold over one side and either glue or staple the edge of fabric to the board. Repeat on the other side.
For the top and bottom, think about wrapping a present. Fold the corners up just as you would with wrapping paper on the side of a box. Then, fold the edge up onto the board, and affix with strong craft glue or a staple gun.
The finished board can be leaned against a wall or sturdy piece of furniture. It can also be set upon a strong easel.
How to Use Pillows and Foam Pads to Create a Flannel Board
This type of flannel board is not a board but rather a big pillow.
Rectangular reading wedge pillows make great flannel story pillows, as do bed rest back pillows. The firmer and taller the back rest, the better the flannel board. Also, it is better to find one that does not have arms. While it may be expensive to purchase a back rest pillow new, if you already have one or have access to a used one, then it makes a unique and versatile flannel board.
Large foam blocks work well, if they can be found at a reasonable price.
Once you know the size and shape of your flannel story pillow, purchase enough flannel or felt to cover. Measure each side of your pillow. If you have a cube that is 2 feet x 2 feet x 2 feet, purchase more than 12 square feet to compensate for seams. For sewing novices, you will need to learn to sew a seam and understand how to sew a pillow.
Finish this project one of two ways; stuff the pillow in an almost-finished pillowcase and hand stitch the last seam shut. For experienced seamstresses, sewing in a zipper makes for easy on and off for washing.
Whichever type of flannel board you decide to make, it will be a wonderful addition to your preschool language arts curriculum.